Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Juntacadáveres

Dejesus rounded the corner and ran slap daub into the Witness, the Witness sticking out his hand like a traffic cop. Ignacy the trumpeter stole Villaseñor’s oxcart, driving it clockwise into the dust. The man’s a menace! Always sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Someone’s gun to kill him, I assure you. On his fifteenth birthday he got a secondhand bicycle and the whooping, narrowly missing his end. His mamma applied a warm compress to his chest, squeezing the cool water into a washbowl she kept on the windowsill by the window. The lustre of his achievements waned as the whooping worsened, his throat swelling to the size of a pumpkin squash. ‘but mamma it hurts’. ‘never you mind’. ‘is it suppose to is it ma?’ ‘yes its suppose to’. ‘but I can’t mamma I can’t’ ‘you will, by God you will!’ On his sixteenth birthday he got a clout in the jaw and a purple eye, his mamma’s new boyfriend not taking a shine to him.

Juntacadáveres carries a blade tucked into his boot just below the hilt. Whenever he feels threatened he unsheathes the blade, waving it like a madman in the face of his assailant. That day the man in the hat met no one, choosing to stay home rather than venture out into the world. Had he ventured out he would have run into a madman and a boy with a head the size of a pumpkin squash. But he did not. When he was a boy he made a raft out of bulrushes and cardboard, strapping it together with clothesline and the metal twists his mamma used to cinch tight garbage bags. In his Billy-Boots, the outsides turned down, his name written in black ink, he would wade into the swamp in search of frogs and torch-size bulrushes. His uncle gave him a an archery set for his tenth birthday, his da making him a quiver out of rolled up newspaper and electrician’s tape. Billy-booted, a garland of hair sticking out from under his hat, he speared frogs with arrows, and arrows with frogs, never quite sure which was which. He impaled two at a time, one on top of the other. He stuck three with one arrow, the third swimming underneath the two. How unlucky, he thought, to be minding one’s own business only to be gutted through the back.

The Witness rounded the corner and ran slap daub into Dejesus, the two coming to a full halt. Villaseñor stole the trumpeter’s oxcart, driving it counterclockwise into the mud. This is surely crazy! Madness, I say, gone counterclockwise! I assure you. ‘but I can’t mamma I can’t’ ‘you will, by God you will!’ When he was a boy he made kites out of garbage bags and coat hangers; taping the bags to the coat hangers with electrician’s tape. He flew the kites, soaring, above the clouds, his mamma hollering at him to ‘pull that nuisance of a thing down! You’re going get it all tangled up in an airplane!’

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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